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Thread: Advice needed: Excessive Porn viewing and damaged willpower

  1. #1
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    Advice needed: Excessive Porn viewing and damaged willpower

    Dear Forum members,

    I am consuming 7 hours of porn a week. I keep myself very busy with school, work and extracurricular activities but sometimes or often even everyday I get the urge that without releasing myself with the help of porn I won't be able to focus on my tasks such as school assignments or work from home. I am 28 and I made the decision to change career, to become a music teacher. Despite the good opportunities I seem to get from people who like me, I suffer from extremely low self-esteem, self-respect and self-efficacy. I often lack the faith in that I deserve happiness and that I can be the agent of my own happiness. I measure myself by external qualities like my achievements and not my real moral values for example. I like helping people, I love deep conversations, and people think I am a great listener. I don't have huge regrets in life over offending anyone other than myself. I take decisions which are often driven by wanting to meet the expectations of others. I gain joy from playing music, improving my drawing, design skills, going for a run, cooking, reading, listening to music, spending time with intelligent friends/people or watching educational Youtube videos but my willpower is extremely low. I attribute much of this low motivation to the fact the since I was 13, so for the last 15 years I've been watching porn daily. When I am in outdoor events in team-building or just session with friends or colleagues for weeks I can easily forget about watching it, as I get much more stimulated by real human contact. But on the contrary with my previous girlfriend, although I never loved anyone so much, I constantly questioned my love for her. I often felt that I might only be with her because we happened to meet in a very romantic way, by chance but I might be afraid of loneliness, or the lonely path of self-improvement, but I am not the best version of myself with her because she accepts me too much, only pointing out my lack of organizational skills, my scattered mindedness sometimes. I was grateful for this, but maybe I couldn't accept myself as much as she did. I also projected my lack of self-acceptance onto her, finding mistakes in her, being not creative enough, not sexy enough, not funny or outspoken enough. I was feeling inferior because of losing my virginity at the age of 25 and I've been carrying this frustration with myself. I feel that if I don't experience a more promiscuous life or rather other relationships based on trust and friendship and love then I won't ever know if she is the one for me. But this way I risked losing an extremely precious treasure in her because it was fulfilling to take care of her. But often times I doubted that my love is deep enough and thus I didn't give always the best effort I had. I prioritized my career and finding my place over our relationship, she prioritized our relationship over her career sometimes, but overall seeing my lack of commitment she started prioritizing her career as well. I am not sure if my reasoning and my observations are correct. I disclosed my possible porn addiction to her, as a response she admitted she watches porn quite regularly too. I don't watch any violent porn. The most violent thing I watch is some extreme forms of oral sex, which is not extreme for using any accessories (there are none), it is just very horny oral sex which is sometimes unrealistic and with a lot of close up camera positions and very unrealistically horny women, with big breasts usually, which varies between incredibly, disproportionately big ones or just naturally big, proportionate and beautiful ones.
    I hope I don't violate any forum rules by going in such details.

    I started feeling that my constant doubt about how satisfying decision I can make for myself in life is seriously damaged by the fact that constant relief though watching porn outweighs any form of pleasure for me too often and especially for the last 10 years. This has made my entire adolescence and dating history difficult and I am late to realize this because I was surrounded by friends who view pornography regularly as well, but who similarly might struggle with low willpower and self-esteem. Mostly though, my male friends seem to be more satisfied with where they are in life and they don't seem to question their achievements such as me. I constantly try to measure myself to other people's expectations and it seems sometimes i even forgot what really brings authentic joy to my life and how can I take responsibility for the consequences of my decisions and how could I take responsibility for my relationships with others. I struggle with being organized, I have been thinking about the possibility of having ADHD. I am interested in too many fields and professions and I jump from one thing to the other. I broke up with my previous girlfriend because we were already in long distance relationship because I had to move abroad to try my luck in a new career. She was willing to help though even a porn addiction, as we were honest about these, but I was ashamed of what kind of porn I really watch. I think it was damaging my ability to love her profoundly. To clear this mind-fog and stop invalidating my emotions, to become more conscious about my mental blocks and traps in way of thinking I think I have to stop watching porn. But I have always been relapsing after 1 week of abstinence. I cannot imagine what kind of freedom and feeling of control would it give me back in my life. I remember being a high achiever in school in primary school and even in high school where the forms of porn viewing for me were much milder and more seldom.

    I have been raised by my Mom and a for 10 years also a stepdad who I didn't have a real relationship with, we didn't like each other really. I have a problem creating trusting relationships with older men and with women I am attracted to, I often get friend-zoned. I crave deep conversations about life, people, art or anything mutually interesting but I sometimes see myself as a boring, uncool, nervous conversation partner, although my friends and people who like me tell me I am a very interesting person, who can always surprise them. A lot of my difficulties can stem from not having a real father figure. But I don't want to blame anyone, coming up with reasons should be used to understand myself and give myself more self-acceptance to strengthen my willpower. I need to lower my feelings of inferiority and should develop a healthy level of pride so I don't fear commitment professionally or in love relationships. So I can be the man, I can be proud of.

    I would like to know if the fact that I was often unsatisfied with the physical look of my ex-girlfriend (such as small breasts, or too much overweight around her waist), the current issue with my lack of willpower and watching porn in such an amount, in what degree can they be related? What kind of ways are there to rebuild my self-esteem, my willpower and my ability to love someone deeply in a relationship?
    28/M

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    I don't know whether my decision to change career was a form of weakness, or rather the realization that I need to change was a brave and strong one. I often have doubts that I made the right decision, but it would be important to trust my past decisions and my conclusions that were based on the then actual knowledge about myself. The result was feelings of detachment from my home country, culture, friends and family and even an incredibly loving girlfriend, for something greater: a career that could fulfill me, and now I doubt that it was worth it. These are crippling thoughts. The continuous consumption of internet porn is not helping me collecting my willpower to fight for whatever I see as a possible source of happiness. More importantly if I am not content with myself, due to low self-trust then no career change or grand decision will improve my current situation, unless I strengthen the relationship with myself.

  3. #3
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    Hmm. I think you're overthinking a lot here. There's just so many issues to address. I'll just stick to the main one.

    If you're using porn to masturbate, I don't see that watching an hour a day is too much. If you're lonely and you don't have a girlfriend, and if you need this to feel better, it's sort of a simple way to self-medicate. And it's perfectly natural.

    I remember a great advice column that addressed the question of a teen who was masturbating 5 times a day. The advice columnist asked doctors and psychiatrists who felt that as long as it wasn't interfering with the kid's daily activities, it was fine.

    So I would not say you have a porn addiction. The only problem is you thinking that there's a problem. I would also say there is no shame of being a virgin until age 25. We have had people in their 40s write in about being virgins. So you shouldn't feel any blow to your self esteem because of that either.

    What I think you're suffering from is a touch of general depression, especially if you miss your home and your friends. You might want to put yourself out there and look around for some local people to make friends with and some meet some local girls you can take out on dates.

    You should also consider seeking out a professional to talk to. They may be able to help you to sort things out. You might even need a little boost from something like Paxil or Zoloft to lift your mood. Otherwise, try to do things that are fun and things that you like doing. Get out there and talk outside. Go see the Christmas decorations and walk through crowded shopping malls. Talk to strangers on the street. There's an entire world out there to meet!

    If you can clear your mind fog away, you will see things aren't as you think they are.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Porn seems like a side effect or symptom of other things more so than a problem in itself. You seem to have your life, career, education. ambitions, tastes etc going well for you. Do you have your own place, car, steady job, etc.?

    The best thing to do is see a doctor for a complete workup and evaluation for any physical, neurological, adhd or anxiety/mood disorders that could be treated medically. Also a referral with a therapist to sort out this swirl of worries, theories, dissatisfaction, guilt, etc would help tremendously.

    In the mean time focus on a confidence building program. Get in shape, improve your fitness and diet, get new clothes, hair cut, etc. and an updated look. Consider taking some social courses and classes that you enjoy or expand your interests. Dancing, cooking, languages, yoga, whatever. It will be fun and improve social skills and alleviate some awkwardness/shyness.

    Also get on some dating apps with a good profile and pics. Start messaging and meeting women for coffee. Only continue dating women you are physically attracted to.
    Originally Posted by Bubbl12
    with my previous girlfriend, although I never loved anyone so much, I constantly questioned my love for her. I have been thinking about the possibility of having ADHD. I was often unsatisfied with the physical look of my ex-girlfriend such as small breasts, or too much overweight around her waist

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  6. #5
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    Thank you! The idea that it might be normal porn consumption and not an addiction is somewhat relieving. Although I do think that it altered my ideals about sex and women, and the thought of not using porn is actually a scary one for me, but I kind of want to face this fear.

    To answer your questions. I kind of have my life in place: I used to be a market analyst, but I always was passionate about playing piano, I was just lacking conscious focus on improving in it. So I decided to start a teacher program as a day student. Lot of the depressed emotional states I am experiencing might be the result of leaving my job behind in my home country and being able to work in my field here in Denmark. I partially think that it is a good thing, because I was attributing too much of my pride and personal value to my achievements, and the status of my job, although I wasn't passionate about them and I was having a hard time to focus to my job, because I was spending a lot of the nights just playing music. So decided that I am going to take a new education, leave my previous job behind that didn't completely fulfill me. But now I am experiencing lower self esteem because lot of my self esteem came from the fact that I had a status as a result of those positions. Now I am also living in a small town as a foreigner, honestly, there are no shopping centres and my financial situation limits me from going to the city an hour away to go to the shopping mall. I am doing a lot of social activities but I have a hard time connecting with the local Scandinavians here. I usually talk about music with them and then I go home. I see all the girls as fat and not attractive. But it might be true that I convince myself about the few attractive women that it wouldn't work out between each other and they seem to be less deep or sensitive women as my ex-girlfriend, who I still view as having a morally outstanding character. My financial situation is bad because my work place closed down for a month in October so I am still trying to make up for the missing salary of that one month. Similarly, in this town there are no opportunities for dance classes, which I would love, I even considered moving from January just because of that (changing job, and leaving my education... maybe not so smart...)

    I am definitely gonna find a therapist and not gonna spare my money from that even if it's costly in this situation. I need to have tools to manage my overthinking. Maybe some good books could help. I love the classics. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are some of my favorites on independence and integrity.
    I don't want to use anti-depressants, because I am against pharmaceuticals especially if there are natural options out there, I would rather do exercise, drink herbal teas or find herbal or vegan options to elevate my mood. Playing music with other people seems to be the best tool to elevate my mood so far.

  7. #6

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    You’re right, Bubbl12, you do love deep conversations and it reveals your analytical nature. It seems to me that you are evaluating many things at a higher standard that you might actually be unable to meet. So, just relax and enjoy your life and relationships.

    If you are a music teacher in a school with young kids or young adults, you need to take caution with your porn use, because you do not know where it will take you. Many people did not start saying, I will watch porn and hopefully get addicted to it. No, they say, I have this under control, it is just a coping mechanism. I can stop it anytime I want. If you want to get a handle on it, try googling New Life Live, which has helped many of my friends. It is a faith-based ministry but they give a lot of practical advice that you might be able to try. They also have a book entitled Every Man’s Battle, which I hope you would pick up and read or listen to.

  8. #7
    Gold Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    i will agree with some other comments. I think what’s going on here is that we’re lumping way too many things into a single thing and making mountains out of mole hills. I also think this is pretty advanced psychological stuff in which non-medical professional strangers on the internet are not going to have answers for you.

    So i think the biggest two thing you can do for yourself to sort thru and work thru all this (and it’s not all bad by the way.. i think you are beating yourself up a bit too much on such things... ) is to 1) see a professional to help you. and 2) realize that there isn’t a major huge issue here, there are several smaller workable ones here and the key is to work thru each small one one at a time until eventually they’re all gone.

    As for the porn addiction. I didn’t see that as big of an issue as you believe it to be. Nothing you described as watching seems horribly inappropriate to me. there’s nothing deviant, or violent, or demeaning that i can see. the only minor thing i see about the porn thing is maybe “relying on it” or going for the “fast fix” to get you off... rather than being willing to go thru the work and grind of developing that with an actual person or partner. Of becoming so accustomed to the “fantasy” to have an effect on you that you lose the beauty in “real life” sexuality. (akin to losing the joy of “real food” because it’s too easy and your taste buds get used to over pumped up “fast food”). I don’t call that “addiction” - i call that “taking the easy and fast route” and not being willing to work at it in a real life way. 2 very different things (addiction vs “fast food” love).

    So don’t beat yourself up too bad. I think you’re better than you think.

    Good luck to you friend.

  9. #8
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    Thank you so much! I will work on the issues one at a time. I will seek a professional personally. The fast food analogy is helpful, thank you. I beat myself up for many things. I am trying to read and reflect. I want to hear the invalidating thoughts in my head, face them and eradicate them, and be more accepting towards myself so I can continue on a journey of self-development.

    One of the core issues I am starting to realize is that for years I was in a mild depression, not believing in my own ability to create a satisfying and worthwhile life while setting really high ambitions for myself. I didn't just have too high ambitions but I let myself convince that I have to be careful with becoming too over-confident, thus not letting my self-worth to fully develop. Being a person who loves ideas, philosophy and art, I also convinced myself that exploration and unpredictability is often more productive and meaningful than living according to a routine, and sticking to a predictable life. While this is true, I used this as an excuse to constantly get distracted and scattered-minded, while also neglecting self-care such as sleep, healthy eating, exercise and setting and accomplishing small and achievable goals. I think depression has this characteristic to convince the person who is depressed that sadness, isolation and sticking to one's comfort zone is the only way possible, thus strengthening the feelings of inability (just like in psychological experiments where rats who get electrical shock regardless of whether they press a button or not, become indifferent towards making any action and give up), such is the abyss of depression. So it is a big revelation for me, that being jealous of people who have a healthy pride is actually due to not allowing myself to have faith in myself. Basically for years I believed that confidence and a life of routine is stupid and having doubts is being smart, so depression and chaos - for being a state of self-doubt - is a smarter state of mind.

    I beat myself up for not being able to provide to my previous girlfriend the loving care, attention and prioritization that our relationship deserved, seeing how valuable people we both are. While it is true that I couldn't provide her with these things, what I do not realize that loving myself first is not selfish but necessary in order to love her as well. She practiced much more self-care in her daily life then I did, while I constantly was feeling guilt for not seeing a future and working more on my own goals than our common goals. Eventually, meeting each other at the wrong time in our lives might fit our situation. While the other issues had also a great effect, namely porn, lust for other women, which also needs to be worked on.

    I am really grateful for people on this forum who are willing to use their free time to understand and support others through difficult times.

  10. #9
    Bronze Member Chai's Avatar
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    Hey Bubbl12,

    Despite the assurances above, there has been significant research done into the fact that porn is highly addictive and the fact that it can skew ideas of women's body image. Like any addiction, the only way to get real control is to quit. I have seen documentaries about how people who watch porn do indeed treat it like fast food, but to the extent that they can't derive pleasure from real life sexual experiences any more. I don't use porn a whole lot, but I do still consider myself 'addicted' to it. So, I try to masturbate without porn as often as I watch it, to build those neural resources and networks. I actually have better orgasms when I am not watching porn. Can anyone else relate to that?

    As for the changing of careers. I understand the issue. I have changed careers numerous times, and even now I still dream about 'following my passion' and changing again. To be honest, I think it will never be enough. If I changed careers now and started studying psychology, I would get there and find that (of course) it has just as many negatives and issues than my previous occupation. No job is perfect and I think that mostly, the strength and confidence comes from being competent and that means working in a field for some time.

    The good news is that I do not have to give up my passion for psychology (or art, or nutrition, or health, or photography, or the environment), I can simply engage in these things as hobbies. This is actually even better than devoting my career to one of these paths. Sometimes turning a hobby into a job can kill the love of it, or turn it into 'work' which is not as fun as 'play'. I am planning to still study psychology and to use it in conversations with friends and family to help people to come to their own conclusions about what the best next steps are for them, but I don't plan to give up a career that is going pretty well to change (again), at least not for a good number of years yet.

    In terms of developing that sense of mind, or willpower, I would suggest mindfulness practice, as it helps us to stay focussed and committed despite the challenges that come up. You have chosen to do music teaching, so my advice would be to just stick with that. Start building, and gain some ground.

    Good luck with your personal journey. You do seem very analytical, so I think this will help you to always grow and find new heights.

    Cheers,
    Chai :-)


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